Goal to name new general manager this evening

Charity to appoint replacement after Barry Andrews stood down amid USAID inquiry

Aid agency Goal is expected to name a new general manager to replace former chief executive Barry Andrews following a board meeting this evening.

Mr Andrews chose to end his four-year tenure last week amid continued fallout from allegations of bribery and bid rigging against the charity, and a spokesman for Goal confirmed that the new appointment will be made on an interim basis.

The Irish-based organisation came to the attention of USAID, the US government's foreign aid arm, over the summer when it was ordered to cease procurement operations in Syria due to questions over a €154,000 tender for aid items in the war-torn country.

The Government subsequently decided to withhold a total of more than €10 million in humanitarian funding earmarked for Goal, on top of the €6.2 million initially suspended by USAID, pending the outcome of investigations.

The charity was reluctant to clarify whether or not the new general manager would be an internal appointment when contacted by The Irish Times this afternoon, but said Mr Andrews's effective replacement would be an "expert in change management".

Counter-fraud unit

Goal said it was also in the process of setting up a counter-fraud investigation unit in an attempt to address organisational deficiencies identified in a recent internal report. It is expected to be headed up by a retired senior police officer.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the agency said it was not planning to curtail any of its country programmes as part of cost-saving measures as yet, but indicated that future closures cannot be ruled out.

“Ultimately, if Goal can’t restore the confidence of donors then all options are on the table,” he said.

It follows last week’s announcement of the winding-down of Goal’s offices in the US, which will result in the eventual loss of 12 jobs.

Speaking ahead of this evening's board meeting, Fianna Fáil's foreign affairs spokesman Darragh O'Brien urged the Government to do whatever it could to hasten the release of aid funds for the charity.

“Anything that helps to expedite that process and ensures that Goal are given a clean bill of health so they can go back to the life-saving work that they’re doing is to be welcomed.

“With Goal not receiving funding from Government, it inhibits the work that they’re able to do on the ground in major trouble spots across the world,” said the Dublin Fingal TD.